Santiago

Santiago Habano Toro

There are a lot of cigar groups on Facebook and in some of those groups people like to combine days with cigar brands, like Tatuaje Tuesday and Fuente Friday. Since I have so many unpublished reviews and need to post a lot I decided that this week will be a week dedicated to the weekday – cigar combinations and I came up with a few of my own.

This week I will post a review every day, monday to sunday, all with the name tied to the weekday, here’s the list:

Murcielago Monday
Tatuaje Tuesday
Warped Wednesday
Taboo Thursday
Fuente Friday
Santiago Saturday
Sosa Sunday

Santiago Saturday – Santiago Habano Toro

Last september at Intertabac I met the guys from Santiago de los Caballeros cigars, a private label cigar company that have their cigars made in Esteli by the Plasencia Family. They gave me a few samplers and last January I reviewed the Santiago Maduro Robusto, last month I reviewed the Santiago Connecticut Robusto and today I’m reviewing the Habano blend in a 6×50 Toro shape. The cigar has a blend of Nicaraguan and Mexican tobacco as filler, a Nicaraguan binder and a Ecuadorean Habano wrapper. I don’t know what the MSRP for these cigars are or where they are for sale. To be honest, before I met the guys I never heard of the brand.


Now the Maduro was a pretty decent cigar, that raised my expectations for this habano. The wrapper is beautiful, very dark, mild shiny with a dry appearance. I see a few veins. The ring is beautiful, its a dark green, close to grey, with golden linings and white letters Santiago de Los Caballeros Nicaragua but what makes the band stand out is the shiny, black and slightly raised cross. The bottom ring is the same greenish gray with golden lining and blue letters Habano, something I would have done in white to make it matching. The construction feels evenly, but a little soft. The triple cap is gorgeous. The aroma is quite strong and reminds me of stray on the barn floor right before it’s cleaned out after being peed on by cows all night. Now that sounds disgusting, but cigar smokers know what I mean and that its not a bad thing.


I decided to punch the cigar and I’m glad I did as the cold draw is loose, cutting it might have made the draw even easier. I taste pepper and some cocoa. I used a soft flame to light the cigar and the start is bitter. After half a centimeter the bitterness tones down to a tolerable level and I also taste some sweetness and coffee. After an inch it’s still coffee but with cocoa. Halfway the flavor reminds me of roasted nuts. The flavor remains but after two thirds it get company from pepper, mainly on my lips. With an inch and a half to go I clearly notice the turning point and I toss the cigar.


The smoke is thick, white and luscious. The draw is a little too loose for my preference. The ash is silver gray and you clearly see the layers. The ash is frayed but firm. The burn is straight. This medium plus bodied cigar is medium bodied and the smoke time is an hour and twenty minutes.


Would I buy this cigar again? Depends on the price, it’s a good cigar but there are many good cigars comparable to this one so the price would be a factor.

Score: 90

90

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Categories: 90, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Santiago Connecticut Robusto

At Intertabac 2016 I met the guys of Santiago cigars who shared their booth with Gerard from Nicoya. As we were talking about cigars, about their brand, a private label made by Plasencia as so many others they gave me a few of their cigars to review. I had very good cigars made by Plasencia, I had bad ones and I probably had a lot of Plasencia cigars without even knowing they are made by this very influential family that are the biggest growers of tobacco in Nicaragua and Honduras with huge cigar factories on both sides of the border too. If you ever happen to be in Esteli, try to visit the cathedral of tobacco as the Plasencia factory is being called by everybody and do yourself a favor, peek at the daycare centre Plasencia founded across the street too, if you’re lucky the kids will sing a song and do a dance for you, its adorable.


Now Roberto from Santiago handed me their three blends, a habano, a maduro and a Connecticut. I warned Robert as I hate Connecticut. To me it’s a demonic invention and I picture hell as a huge hipster filled cigar shop with nothing but Connecticut shade cigars, an alcohol free bar and only vegan food. But, and I have heard this from many manufacturers including some big names, Roberto swore me that their Connecticut shade is different than all other. None of the manufacturers that said this to me were right though, there is something about Connecticut shade that makes me despise it, the musty taste, the pale look, its not my thing but the same tobacco grown broadleaf is a whole different thing though, that I love.


The Santiago Connecticut Robusto is a 5×50 box pressed cigar, made in the Nicaraguan factory of Plasencia with Nicaraguan filler, a double binder, both from Nicaragua and a Connecticut Shade wrapper from the Talanga region of Honduras. The wrapper is typical Connecticut shade, pale, thin and it has a few veins. The construction is flawless though with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is beautiful, its a dark green, close to grey, with golden linings and white letters Santiago de Los Caballeros Nicaragua but what makes the band stand out is the shiny, black and slightly raised cross. The bottom ring is the same greenish gray with golden lining and red letters Connecticut, something I would have done in white to make it matching. This is the exact same comment as I made for the Habano version of the cigar btw and I do understand why they didn’t do it in white but in different colors to make the cigars stand apart more in a humidor, but I think the different colors of the wrapper should already do that. The aroma is a like walking into a dry barn where the farmer just put down some fresh hay before the sheep or cow come back in.


I punched the cigar and the cold draw is great. The flavor is mellow except for a strong pepper on my lips. I lit the cigar with my vintage Ronson, my favorite lighter. The flavor is actually quite nice, sweet coffee with some cinnamon except I also taste a little bit of the typical Connecticut Shade mustiness. After a centimeter I taste some cedar with a little bit of salt and sweetness but unfortunately the mustiness gets stronger too. After a thirds the mustiness is getting to the level I expect from a Shade cigar but surprisingly I also taste a pretty strong red pepper. Halfway the mustiness tones down, I now taste cedar again with cinnamon, some sweetness and a nice amount of pepper. Near the end I taste the mustiness again with some pepper and nuts.


The smoke is medium thick and medium in volume. The ash is light colored, dense and firm. The draw is just perfect. The burn is fine, not razor sharp but also not crooked. The cigar is mild bodied but medium plus flavored. The smoke time is an hour.

Would I buy this cigar again? No but if someone gifts me one I will smoke it again and that I don’t say about a lot of Connecticut Shade cigars. Roberto was right when he said that this cigar isn’t the same as other Shade cigars.

Score: 89

Categories: 89, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Santiago Maduro Robusto

Santiago Cigars is a new brand from Nicaragua and I met the owners at the largest tobacco trade show in the world, intertabac in Dortmund, last September. Online there is not a lot of information about the brand, just that it’s named after the first capitol of Nicaragua and that the cigar is made by the Plasencia family. Now that last piece of information is interesting for the cigar geeks among us that know the Plasencia’s and recognize their importance in the cigar industry. They are amongst the largest tobacco growers and cigar producers in both Nicaragua and Honduras, they make cigars for a lot of brands like several Alec Bradley lines, Casa Magna for the Quesada family and many more next to a few lines for themselves and in Honduras they have a joined operation with Rocky Patel. That’s just the cigars they produce but their tobacco is sold to almost everybody. That’s how important the Plasencia family is and why my friend Jonathan Drew calls them ‘the octopus’ in an endearing way. And even though they are so important it’s still a humble and down to earth family who does a lot of charity for the less fortunate.


Now about the cigar, it’s a 5×50 box pressed robusto with a double band. The wrapper is a San Andres Maduro from Mexico with a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobacco from both Mexico and Nicaragua. The ring is nice and detailed but the 2nd ring is so off color with the regular band, the red just isn’t a match and I would never have picked that color scheme. The wrapper is beautiful though and the cigar is beautifully made with a well rounded top. The construction feels good and the cigar has a mild barnyard aroma. I decided to punch the cigar instead of cutting it. The cold draw is great with a mild pepper and raisin flavor.


I used my trusted vintage Ronson lighter to light this cigar and due to the thick leave it takes some effort. First hit is sour but it disappears right away. After that it’s a mixture of coffee, lime and wood, a quite unique flavor combination. After a centimeter it turns into a charred wood flavor with a mild citrus aftertaste. After an inch the charred part disappears, it’s now wood with a citrus that’s growing stronger.


After a third it’s a mild barbecue with wood and citrus. Halfway the smoky barbecue is gone and replaced with sweetness. After two thirds I notice some spice slowly growing with some wood, the aftertaste is mildly sweet and the citrus is almost complete gone. The wood is getting stronger too.


The smoke is thick, white and plentiful and again my air cleaner is working overtime. The draw is great. The ash is salt & pepper colored with beautiful rings and quite firm. The burn is beautiful, slow and straight. This cigar is full bodied, full flavored with a nice evolution. The smoke time was about 75 minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes I’d like to give it another try but I won’t buy a box.

Score: 90
90

 

Categories: 90, Nicaraguan cigars, Santiago | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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